Important Update: Following the Final Fairness Hearing on April 5, 2021, the Court granted final approval to the Settlement. Copies of the Court's orders are available for download from the Important Documents page.
A settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit, Rayburn v. Santander Consumer USA Inc., alleging a violation of the Ohio Uniform Commercial Code, the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act, and the Ohio Retail Installment Sales Act. Plaintiff claims that the “Notice of Intent to Sell Property” letter that Defendant sent to Ohio customers after repossession of their vehicle violated these statutes by containing a vehicle sale date that included the phrase “on or after.” Defendant vigorously denies that it violated any law, but has agreed to the Settlement to avoid the expenses associated with continuing the litigation.
What is the Settlement About?
The Complaint in the Action claims that the “Notice of Our Plan to Sell Property” letter that SC sent to certain Ohio customers after repossession of their vehicle did not comply with parts of the Ohio Uniform Commercial Code (“OUCC”), the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act (“CSPA”), and the Ohio Retail Installment Sales Act (“RISA”) because the notices’ sale date included the phrase “on or after.”
SC denies the claims and contends its notices complied with Ohio law and resulted in no harm to consumers.
Who is Included?
You are a Settlement Class Member if you are an Ohio resident who:
- purchased a motor vehicle;
- as part of the purchase transaction, entered into a RISC where the RISC was assigned to SC;
- where, during the period of January 1, 2013 to the date the Court certifies and finally approves the class for settlement purposes only, SC repossessed the vehicle and sent, subsequent to repossession, a “Notice of Our Plan to Sell Property” Letter;
- where the “Notice of Our Plan to Sell Property” Letter had a vehicle sale date that included the phrase “on or after.”; and
- subsequent to receiving the “Notice of Our Plan to Sell Property” Letter, did not redeem or otherwise recover the vehicle from SC.
The Class expressly excludes any person who is eligible for a Deficiency Balance Waiver in connection with the State AG Actions, unless that individual is also a Cash Refund Eligible Settlement Class Member.
If you received a deficiency balance waiver in connection with any action initiated by the Attorney General of any state against SC related to your RISC or loan account with SC in or around May 2020, you are not a member of the Settlement Class and your rights will not be affected by the Settlement unless you also made a payment towards your deficiency balance after your vehicle was repossessed.
If you are not sure whether you qualify as a Class Member, you can contact the Settlement Administrator.
What Does This Settlement Provide?
If the proposed settlement is approved, then all Settlement Class Members will receive certain benefits. In addition, some Settlement Class Members will be eligible to receive partial cash refunds, as described below. If the settlement is not approved, then Settlement Class Members will not get any benefits of the settlement and the parties will go back to Court for further proceedings, possibly including a trial.
Benefits For All Settlement Class Members: SC will eliminate the deficiency balance of each Settlement Class Member, setting it to zero. The deficiency balance is the amount SC claims it is still owed after the car was repossessed and sold. The deficiency balances are disputed debts, and they are being eliminated to resolve disputed claims in this litigation, including claims for statutory damages and violations of the OUCC, CSPA, and RISA. More than $333 million in claimed deficiency balances will be eliminated, and SC will ask credit reporting agencies to delete the tradelines for these loan accounts from the Settlement Class Members’ credit reports.
Cash Benefits For Settlement Class Members Who Made Payments After Car Was Sold: SC will create a Settlement Fund of $1.9 million. If you paid any money toward your deficiency balance after your repossessed car was sold, then you will get a cash payment from the Settlement Fund. Your payment will be calculated by comparing what you paid SC after your car was sold to the total of such payments Settlement Class Members made to SC. It will also depend on how much money remains in the Settlement Fund after the payment of settlement administrative costs in excess of $65,000 and any incentive payment to the Class Representative.
IF ELIGIBLE, YOU DO NOT NEED TO DO ANYTHING TO RECEIVE THESE BENEFITS.